2017 Canadian Biennial

Thursday, October 19, 2017 to Sunday, March 18, 2018
“The fourth edition of the Canadian Biennial brings together a comprehensive selection of works acquired since 2014 by the Gallery’s departments of Contemporary Art, Indigenous Art, and the Canadian Photography Institute, and is the first to date to feature artists working both in Canada and internationally. The exhibition reveals the dynamic ways in which artists engage with the increasingly globalized world of contemporary art through a wide range of media including painting, sculpture, photography, drawing, printmaking, video and installation-based practices. Migration, the impact and interpretation of history and belief systems on contemporary art and culture, stereotypes of identity and nationhood, and the emancipatory potential of the imagination and creativity, are some of the themes and subjects addressed in the Biennial that reflects the Gallery’s pursuits in building an outstanding and pertinent collection of art today.” NGC website

West Vancouver Museum – Shape of Things – Renée Van Halm

2017. 60″ x 48″. Acrylic on canvas.

People rarely appear in photographs featured in interior design magazines. Instead, carefully staged objects, such as an open book on a coffee table or a vase of flowers on a sideboard, are the only evidence of habitation, compelling readers to imagine themselves living amidst the sumptuous furnishings and spaces depicted.
In the 1950s and 60s, mainstream lifestyle magazines disseminated modernist architecture as a new and better way of living, integrating art, architecture, and design. A resurgent interest and examination of mid-century design through museum exhibitions, publications, and re-issued design classics, has popularized modern design, and the work of many architects and designers is now familiar and collected for prestige.
In Shape of Things, Renée Van Halm conflates images of modernist residential interiors and design objects drawn from secondary sources (magazines and books) into paintings that critically examine how modernist philosophy and practice, with its origins in Europe in the late 19th century, has endured despite inherent contradictions concerning comfort, accessibility, affordability, and practicality. …
Darrin Morrison, Director West Vancouver Museum

Nudge – New Work by Renée Van Halm

PrintNudge can be seen as an encouragement to look, to move in closer, to move over just a bit, on the part of the viewer but also refers to the process of making a painting. For instance the choices an artist makes when introducing a colour or shape and moving them until around till the composition clicks into place. The process of making the collages and subsequently  paintings involve nudging the shapes over to find the optimal position in an ideal but edgy relationship.

This exhibition at the Equinox Gallery opens on February 13, 2016

The Poetics of Space, Vancouver Art Gallery, January 31 to May 24, 2015


Mies/Interior, Goauche on paper, 2011

The Poetics of Space features both historical and contemporary works that investigate the idea of space, whether they are conceptually, analytically or emotionally founded. This exhibition takes its title from Gaston Bachelard’s 1958 book of the same name that presents a psychic interpretation of “home,” and one’s prototypical experiences of personal space; in the book Bachelard discusses the way our perceptions of shelter begin to delineate the very essence of how we think and imagine. Using this text as a starting point, the exhibition explores the symbolic meaning of spaces as tied to ideas of perception, memory, intimacy and experience. Inspired by Cézanne’s analytic approach to depicting space (on view in a concurrent exhibition at the Gallery in Cézanne and the Modern), the first section of the exhibition, “Fracturing of Form,” examines the ways artists have historically contended with conveying pictorial problems of depth on a two dimensional plane. The following area, “Psychic Weight,” focuses on the intimacy of inhabited structures or other familiar locations to reveal how they are laden with emotional intensity and symbolic meaning. A third section features works in which artists have conceptualized a site in non-traditional ways, mapping it according to their own purposes or acknowledging its layered socio-cultural histories. Ultimately, the exhibition reveals the expansive and subjective ways in which artists have grappled with depicting and defining space over time.


 Janice Gurney: Translations & Alliances and Renée Van Halm: Depth of Field


Opening Reception: Thursday, November 27, 6 – 9pm Exhibitions Run: November 27, 2014 – January 10, 2015  Please join us for our final preview of 2014, with exhibitions by Janice Gurney and Renée Van Halm.

Birch Contemporary
129 Tecumseth Street
Toronto, Canada
M6J 2H2

Complex Curves 2014

Review: Softening the Corners exhibition at Birch Contemporary, Toronto

Hard Edges Cushioned at Softening the Corners
Birch Contemporary, Toronto July 17 to August 30, 2014
By Leah Sandals

It seems there is such an interest right now in formalism and abstraction that work of a more representational or corporeal ilk comes across as a surprise—and a pleasant surprise at that.
“Softening the Corners,” a group show at Birch Contemporary, offers a few such unexpected diversions.

…After I viewed the exhibition, curator Corrie Jackson explained to me that a central work in the show is Renée Van Halm’s Privacy Screen. Halm is the only artist in the show actually represented by Birch Contemporary, and this work is from 1997—rather than 2014, like the other works in the show—reflecting Halm’s status as an artist of a more senior generation.
Privacy Screen both imitates and references the shoulder-height screens in Mies van der Rohe’s Farnsworth House, which was built in 1951. Farnsworth House’s original owner eventually abandoned the structure for several reasons, one being a sense of constant exposure in the glass-walled home and another being the fact that it was not well adapted to the local landscape, being subject to severe flooding from a nearby waterway.
One side of Halm’s structure—the more extruded or “exterior” side—is painted black, with a representation of Farnsworth house in greys and whites along the top edge. The other side of the structure—the more enclosed or “interior” side—is painted bright red, creating a powerful visual contrast that at its most elemental might be framed as blood-versus-brain.
Farnsworth House was born of a beautiful idea, and it is, I take it, a beautiful structure—but it is not amenable to actual human habitation or nurturance, at least as far as most humans are concerned.
Exiting this exhibition (which included a few “misses” as well as the aforementioned “hits”), I wondered how much art made today is of a similar ilk—great as an idea or visual experience, but less amenable to corporeal and emotional needs.
– See more at: http://www.canadianart.ca/reviews/2014/08/14/softening-the-corners-birch-contemporary/#sthash.rUxHplW1.dpuf

Artist talk

Vancouver Island School of Art

Victoria, BC

April 2, 2014

Art with a Heart Auction

An auction in support of Casey House, Toronto | October 8, 2013 








Renée Van Halm, German Pavilion 2010